With Google beginning work on their Google Maps Engine public data program, the folks at National Geographic Maps have been keen to push their own historical cartography to the public. While you’ve very possibly seen some of these maps before, integration with Google Maps allows the entire situation to appear a whole lot more real.
What you’ll find this week is the National Geographic Society’s oldest archives to bring some of these newest innovations to the web. The simplest show of power here is the laying of a medieval map of England atop its Google Maps counterpart. Here you’ll be able to see history in a very, very familiar current context.
“People have collected our magazine fold-out maps for over a hundred years, and many of those maps are sequestered away in attics and garages. The public data program gives us the opportunity to release our amazing map collection to the wider world.
We will also use Maps Engine to overlay our maps with interactive editorial content, so the maps can “tell stories” and raise awareness about environmental issues and historic events. Anyone will be able to access our free public maps, but we also plan to sell or license high-resolution and print versions to raise funds for our nonprofit mission.” – National Geographic Maps
Above you’ll enjoy Medieval England (1979) while below you’ll find what National Geographic calls a “Dominican Republic: Adventure Map”.
This is just the beginning. With the folks at Google Maps running the Google Maps Engine public data program full steam ahead, we’ll certainly see more projects like this in the wild sooner than later. Have a peek and work with them yourself!